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Members of the Turkish-Arab Media Association hold posters with photos of missing Saudi writer Jamal Khashoggi near the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkey, Oct. 8, 2018 (AP photo by Lefteris Pitarakis).

The Disappearance of Jamal Khashoggi and a Crown Prince’s False Promise

Tuesday, Oct. 9, 2018

The disappearance of the prominent Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi has focused much attention in Washington, D.C., where Khashoggi had been living in self-imposed exile, on the stream of bad news coming out of Saudi Arabia in recent months. Ever since Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman returned from a month-long trip abroad in March and April, with stops in Egypt, the United Kingdom, the United States, France and Spain, a succession of developments have cast serious doubt on the credibility of the reform narrative the crown prince and his entourage were so energetically pushing, to often eager applause.

Given the opaque nature of decision-making at the heart of the Saudi royal family, concrete data points are hard to come by. Yet it increasingly seems that Mohammed bin Salman’s U.S. visit represents, in retrospect, the high-water mark of his domestic and international influence. That leaves gaping questions about the path forward as Saudi Arabia moves inexorably toward a generational transition of leadership and power. ...

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